Tag Archives: National Journal

Trial Balloon Of The Day — UPDATED

Warning: This is pure speculation. It’s not even a rumor. No substance whatsoever. But it’s irresistible. And somewhat believable.

Update: It’s not pure speculation anymore; a prominent backstage figure in Vermont politics has openly put it out there. See below.

So I was talking with an administration functionary about, y’know, this and that, and talk inevitably turned to who might run for governor next year. And a name came up that I hadn’t even thought of, but that makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

Peter Welch.

The longtime Congressman would immediately sweep aside the rest of the field. Even Phil Scott wouldn’t dare. No Democrat would challenge him; they’d all immediately stampede to the congressional race.

But why would Welch do this? He can stay in Congress as long as he wants to.

Well, let’s make the case. Entirely my speculation here, but follow along, just for the heck of it.

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Dr. Dean dips toe into Beltway cesspool

Oh boy, oh boy, it’s a Tweetfight!

In this corner, former Vermont Governor and DNC chair Howard Dean!

In that corner, Ron Fournier, senior political columnist for the National Journal and longtime bete noire of liberal politicos. At the NJ and previously for the Associated Press, Fournier’s coverage has been notably harsh on Democrats and relatively soft on Republicans.

So, of course, a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy puts her firmly in the crosshairs. Fournier’s latest hack job: a gossipy, fact-free piece floating rumors that Hillary’s email practices may have been related to Clinton Foundation fundraising. Specifically, that she might have been using her pull as Secretary of State to induce fat contributions from foreign governments and potentates.

Fournier comes right out and says there is “no evidence of wrongdoing,” but that doesn’t stop him from filling his column with the kinds of leading questions you usually expect from Fox News or Darrell Issa:

Is the foundation clean? Is it corrupt? Or is the truth in the muddy middle, where we so often find the Clintons? … Without those emails, we may never be able to follow the money. Could that be why she hasn’t coughed up the server?

He even makes it clear he has a personal beef with the Clintons and what he calls “their entitlement, outsized victimization, and an aggravating belief in the ends justifying the means.”

Hmm, yeah, that sounds like a journalist to me.

Fournier, being a multi-platform content provider, dutifully Tweeted about his “scoop.”

This is where the good Dr. Dean stepped into Fournier’s cesspool.

Fournier’s self-satisfied response:

Now there’s Washington schmoozing at its grossest: “I’m right, you’re wrong, but hey, let’s do lunch! Have your people call my people.” Dean tries to pin him down:

Fournier, being a veteran of the Beltway game, is having none of it.

Good God, what a slimeball. If Fournier’s column is notable for anything, it’s for the complete lack of facts. It’s nothing but rumor and characters assassination. And he has the gall to top it off with “Be well.” I’m feeling the need for a shower. Dean’s redirect:

To which Fournier can offer nothing but a hasty exit:

“Gotta run,” indeed. Can’t stay and let himself be pinned down, can he? Dean closes with a dollop of sarcasm.

The two protagonists return to their respective corners.

Props to Dean for a noble effort. But Fournier has been a slime merchant for far too long to waste much time on a mere former governor, Presidential front-runner and major-party chair. Ron Fournier has bigger fish to fry, and a whole lot of grease to fry ’em in.